Blossom Bariatrics has a mission: to help you blossom into the true version of yourself. Your weight-loss journey doesn’t end after your procedure. Successful bariatric surgery is a complete makeover of your body and your mind.
What to Expect after Bariatric Surgery
Discover the changes in physical activity and diet that can create a new you.
Prioritize exercise after weight-loss surgery
After bariatric surgery, incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle plays a crucial role in weight loss. Your muscles control your metabolism. Any time you lose weight quickly, you can also lose muscle mass. Maintaining lean body mass is key to a high metabolism.
A recent study reported in the journal Obesity finds that 200 minutes of exercise per week after bariatric surgery is associated with higher weight loss and improved quality of life. Active participants in the study lost an average of 13.2 more pounds than those who were inactive. In addition, the patients who exercised suffered from less depression and anxiety and had higher overall health scores than those who did not exercise.
Physical activity improves your mood and reduces stress. Prioritizing exercise after your surgery enables you to lose more weight and maintain weight loss.
Begin a high-protein diet after bariatric surgery
A high-protein diet after weight-loss surgery is another key to building muscle mass and increasing metabolism. Maintaining lean body mass and high metabolism through the protein you consume enables you to burn more calories during your daily exercise. Protein also supports healthy hair, skin, and nails.
After bariatric surgery, your stomach will hold considerably less than it did before. To consume the recommended amount of protein, you’ll have to make some lifestyle adjustments.
You’ll need to prioritize protein in your diet. Fat and carbohydrates are important, but make sure to eat your protein first.
- women should incorporate between 60 to 80 grams of protein into their daily diets
- men between 70 to 90
Sources of protein include:
- soy milk
- cottage cheese
- other milk products
Lean meats such as turkey, chicken breast, and tuna are high in protein and low in calories. Plant-based sources of protein include soy products, beans, and nuts. Grains such as quinoa and Kamut are also rich in protein.
Cut down on refined carbs after weight-loss surgery
Refined carbs, known as simple carbs or processed carbs, can sabotage your weight loss journey. Through the refining process, these carbohydrates have been stripped of almost all fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Refined carbs include sugars and processed grains. Common sources of processed carbs in our diets include:
- white bread
- white rice
- breakfast cereals
These empty calories aren’t a healthy choice for anyone’s diet, and after bariatric surgery, you’ll want to be particularly mindful to cut back on them.
Why we overeat
A National Institute of Health study links a diet high in refined carbs with overeating. Two factors cause this overeating.
- Refined carbs are digested quickly and only leave you feeling full for about an hour
- Refined carbohydrates cause a rapid swing in your blood sugar level, which stimulates the parts of your brain associated with reward and craving
Not all carbs are bad
Healthy carb-rich foods include:
- root vegetables
- whole grains
These are all rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Most of your carbs should come from whole foods. If you see a list of ingredients on the food package, it’s likely to be an unhealthy source of carbohydrates.
Implement portion control after bariatric surgery
Weight loss surgery is the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Part of that new lifestyle involves being mindful of what you eat and how much you eat. You need to consume enough to nourish your body properly, but you also need to know how to keep from overeating and regaining weight.
A scale and measuring cups can help you gauge portions initially, but recognizing appropriate serving amounts will soon become second nature.
Here are some visual guidelines that can help:
- One serving of fruits or vegetables equals the size of your fist.
- One serving of meat equals the size of your palm.
- One snack should fit in your cupped hand.
- One serving of cheese equals the size of your thumb.
Portion control by planning ahead!
- Divide foods into baggies containing a single serving. If you divided up your snacks into single-servings, pour a single serving into a cup or bowl. Do not eat straight from the package.
- Freeze leftovers before your meals at home to make going back for seconds less tempting.
- Serve your meals on smaller plates – it helps control portions.
Controlling your portions while eating out can be trickier. A helpful tip: ask for a take-home container and box up half your order before you eat. Sharing a meal with a friend is another option. Some restaurants will allow diners to order half-sized portions.
In the beginning, you will become full quickly, but the amount you can eat will increase over time. Learning to enjoy your meals while keeping your portions under control will be a key aspect of your weight-loss journey.
Exercising, consuming enough protein, cutting refined carbs, and controlling the portions you eat are essential aspects of a healthy lifestyle that will create a new you after weight-loss surgery. You are not in this alone. If you have any questions concerning an appropriate exercise routine or dietary recommendations, reach out to your support team at Blossom Bariatrics.
About the Doctor: Matthew E. Apel, MD, FACS, FASMBS completed his residency in General Surgery at the University of Arizona. He then joined the Division of General Surgery/Section of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery at The University of Arizona as a Clinical Fellow. He is also certified in using the robotic da Vinci Surgical System as a Console Surgeon. Dr. Apel’s passion for bariatric surgery is rooted in his desire to help patients not only improve—or resolve—many of their medical conditions, but also boost their self-esteem, quality of life, and overall happiness.